With all of the attention on EpiPen prices recently, you may not be surprised to find that other drugs have seen similar price increases.
In the case of Aloquin, though, the rising cost is even more puzzling. Over the past year, Aloquin has increased from around $250 per tube of gel to over $9000—a price hike of more than 3500%.
Is Aloquin a one-of-a-kind drug?
Sort of. Aloquin is the only combination of just iodoquinol, an anti-fungal treatment, and aloe. BUT you can get generic iodoquinol combined with hydrocortisone for $40 – $50 per tube . . . and buy aloe over-the-counter at your local store.
Is the price justified?
In this case, it’s a pretty clear no. As an example—Caremark, one of the largest providers of prescription insurance will no longer cover Aloquin. Why? Aloquin falls under their new “hyperinflationary drugs policy.” It’s considered a product “with egregious cost inflation that [has] readily-available, clinically-appropriate and more cost-effective alternatives.”
What does that mean? Basically, a drug that has seen a drastic, unjustified increase in price can be excluded if there are reasonable alternatives on the market.
Why the huge price hike then?
Manufacturer Novum immediately increased the price by more than 10x in 2015 within a month of purchasing Aloquin from Primus Pharmaceuticals—from that initial $250 to over $2500 per tube. Since then Novum has continued to raise prices.
Novum also purchased a couple of other skin meds at the same time—including Alcortin A and Novacort—which have seen similar drastic price increases. After the purchase in mid-2015, Alcortin A jumped from around $200 to $2500, and Novacort from around $130 to $2500.
What are my options?
Fortunately, unlike with EpiPen, there are lots of options out there to help acne, eczema, and the fungal infections Aloquin is used to treat. If your doctor has prescribed you Aloquin, ask about generic hydrocortisone/iodoquinol. Some people are prescribed Aloquin because they may not be able to use hydrocortisone. In that case, ask whether another medication altogether might work for you.
There are discounts out there for Aloquin, but they may not do you much good. If you’re paying out of pocket, a GoodRx discount can save you almost $6000 . . . but would still leave you with a $3500 price tag.
Novum also offers a patient savings card that claims most insured patients will pay $0, and cash patients could pay as low as $35. However, as with most manufacturer offers, you should be aware that if your plan doesn’t cover Aloquin—or if you’re paying cash—your costs could be higher.